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Day 16: Brasília to Alto Paraíso de Goiás

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The hills at Alto Paraíso. Locals believe crystal strata beneath them create a potent energy field.
Michael Palin - BrazilI'm not sure if it in any way affected NOVACAP's decision to site the new capital where it did, but I'm told that there is an area just north of here where a seam of crystals, 200 kilometres (124 miles) long and 30 kilometres (18 miles) deep, creates a force field of energy which is said by those who live there to have powerful effects. UFOs have been sighted there and on a NASA photo of the Earth from space the area was reported as giving off an unmistakable glow.

It should be a day trip from Brasília to this mystical paradise, but the GO 118 highway due north out of the Distrito Federal – the Federal District – and into neighbouring Goiás is badly pot-holed. The drive takes several hours, through the chapadas – the escarpments left by rivers slicing down through the Planalto – and alongside immense fields dotted with the white Asian breeds of cows that survive so well here. We enter the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, a large protected area marked by a host of waterfalls. The rolling landscape is covered with typical cerrado forest. It's characteristically savannah, with a great diversity of trees, bushes and wildlife.

It's late afternoon by the time we reach our destination, one of four towns at the epicentre of the crystal energy field, and called, suitably, Alto Paraíso de Goiás – High Heaven of Goiás. Six and a half thousand souls live here at 1,676 metres, the highest point on the plateau. On the outskirts of the town a sign welcomes us to 'Alto Paraíso de Goiás. Homem Harmonia e Natureza' – Man in Harmony with Nature. This fine concept is somewhat at odds with a clumpy, unfinished concrete abstraction which occupies the centre of a roundabout. On the other hand it is extremely apt for the pousada where we're staying, which seems to be a working farm with rooms. A peacock is in full display outside the window of my rondavel, and processions of chicken and geese are constantly coming and going. As I'm walking before supper I'm delighted to see a toucan in action. I've seen their feathers adorning the shins of the Wauja, and when we were in Manaus I became very envious of our director, J-P, who had two of them tapping at his hotel window every morning. This was the first time I'd seen this colourful whizz of black, yellow, red and green actually on the move. A beak with a bird attached.
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  • Series: Brazil
  • Chapter: Day 16: Brasília to Alto Paraíso de Goiás
  • Country/sea: Brazil
  • Place: Brasília
  • Book page no: 79

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